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How can I avoid foreign transaction fees in Japan?


Foreign transaction fees can be a nuisance when traveling abroad. For those who are planning to travel to Japan, it is important to know how to avoid these fees. With a little bit of research and preparation, it is possible to save money on foreign transaction fees in Japan.

Use a Credit Card with No Foreign Transaction Fees

One of the easiest ways to avoid foreign transaction fees in Japan is to use a credit card that does not charge these fees. Before traveling, it is important to research credit card companies and find one that offers this service. This will allow travelers to make purchases in Japan without having to worry about additional fees.

Japanese Snack Box

Withdraw Cash from ATMs

Another option for avoiding foreign transaction fees in Japan is to withdraw cash from ATMs. However, it is important to note that not all ATMs in Japan accept foreign cards. It is recommended to use ATMs at major banks or post offices, as they are more likely to accept foreign cards.

Notify Your Bank Before Traveling

Before traveling to Japan, it is important to notify your bank of your travel plans. This will prevent your card from being flagged for suspicious activity and potentially being blocked or frozen. It is also a good idea to have a backup payment method in case your primary card is not accepted.

Avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion

Dynamic currency conversion (DCC) is when the merchant offers the option to pay in your home currency instead of the local currency. This may seem convenient, but it often comes with high exchange rates and additional fees. It is best to decline this option and pay in the local currency.

Use a Prepaid Travel Card

Using a prepaid travel card can also be a good way to avoid foreign transaction fees in Japan. These cards allow travelers to load money onto them before traveling and can be used like a credit or debit card. However, it is important to research which cards have the lowest fees and exchange rates.

Consider Using a Local Bank Account

For those who plan on staying in Japan for an extended period of time, opening a local bank account may be a good option. This will allow travelers to avoid foreign transaction fees altogether and also make it easier to manage finances while in Japan.

Beware of Hidden Fees

When using credit or debit cards in Japan, it is important to be aware of any hidden fees that may be associated with the transaction. Some cards may have additional fees for using ATMs or making purchases at certain merchants. It is important to read the fine print before using your card.

Use Cash Whenever Possible

Using cash instead of credit or debit cards can also help travelers avoid foreign transaction fees in Japan. Many small businesses in Japan do not accept credit cards, so having cash on hand can be useful. However, it is important to keep it safe and secure while traveling.

Research Exchange Rates

Before traveling to Japan, it is important to research exchange rates and plan accordingly. Knowing the current exchange rate will help travelers make informed decisions when making purchases or withdrawing cash.

Avoid Using Airport Currency Exchange Services

Using airport currency exchange services should be avoided whenever possible. These services often have high exchange rates and additional fees, which can add up quickly. It is recommended to exchange currency at a bank or post office instead.


By following these tips, travelers can avoid foreign transaction fees in Japan and save money during their trip. From using a credit card with no foreign transaction fees to exchanging currency at a bank or post office, there are many options available for those who want to avoid these fees. It is important to plan ahead and do research before traveling to ensure a smooth and cost-effective trip.

Is it better to use cash or card in Japan?

Cash is still popular, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital and contactless payments have become more popular. In bigger stores and restaurants, most major credit cards are accepted. However, rural areas and shrines may only accept cash, so be aware of this before making purchases.

Can I use my US debit card in Japan?

Popular international credit, debit, and prepaid cards are usually accepted at most locations in the country, although some stores may not display the accepted card symbols. It is recommended to ask the salesperson beforehand to confirm whether your card is accepted.

Can I get international fees waived?

To avoid foreign transaction fees, you have two options: contact your credit card’s customer service department and request that they waive the fee, or choose a credit card that does not charge these fees.

How much is $100 US in yen?

Are you paying too much to your bank? The exchange rate for US Dollars to Japanese Yen is 100 USD = 13073.50000 JPY, with conversions available for higher amounts as well.

Is it better to get yen in US or Japan?

For example, if you want to exchange Japanese yen, it is best to do so in Southeast Asian countries rather than in Japan. However, if you are traveling from the United States, it is recommended to wait until you arrive in Japan to exchange your dollars for yen as you will get a better rate.

Do you need to tip in Japan?

In Japan, it is not customary to tip and offering a tip may result in an uncomfortable situation. This is because in Japan it is believed that the price of dining or drinking already includes payment for good service.

It is also worth noting that some merchants in Japan may charge a fee for using a credit card, regardless of whether or not it is a foreign transaction. This is especially common at smaller businesses and restaurants. Travelers should be prepared to pay with cash in these situations or inquire about any additional fees before using their card.

Additionally, some credit cards offer travel rewards or cashback on purchases made abroad. Travelers should consider using these cards to not only avoid foreign transaction fees but also earn rewards or cashback on their purchases. However, it is important to still be mindful of any additional fees associated with the card.

Another option for avoiding foreign transaction fees is to use digital payment services such as PayPal or Venmo. These services can be linked to a bank account or credit card and used to make purchases without incurring foreign transaction fees. However, it is important to note that not all merchants in Japan accept digital payments.

Lastly, it is important to always keep track of expenses while traveling in Japan. Monitoring spending can help travelers stick to their budget and avoid any unexpected fees or charges. Keeping receipts and using budgeting apps can be helpful for keeping track of expenses on the go.

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